**most pictures came from a google image search. I tried to locate their origins but it was next to impossible. I do not take credit for any of the photos.
I think it is time I talk about another type of culture - my culture. I am from the southern United States. Anyone who has ever visited knows, there is NO place like it in America.
For many, many years I hated the fact that I was from the south. HATED it. As a kid, we would spend portions of our summers in Indiana (mid west - where my dad is from) and my cousins would tease me non-stop for my accent, or make fun of some of the "stereotypes" southerners had. You have to remember, when I was a kid, Dukes of Hazzard was a huge TV show. The plot was supposed to take place in a place called Hazzard County (in Georgia.) People assumed we were all a bunch of back woods redneck moon shiners and had a batch of Daisy Mae's running around.
WHICH - that is completely the opposite. However, yes - you will run into a random hardcore redneck from time to time, but that is not the majority of the population.
For my readers in Egypt (and other places around the world) - let me illustrate for you the actual geographic area that the "South" makes up:
Personally, I don't consider Oklahoma, Texas or Florida the "true south." Nor do I think any real southerner would. I see TX & OK as (moving more toward southwest) and Florida is really nothing more than transplants from NY. LOL
You have two divisions here also - North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia VS Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. (Tennessee is excellent mountain country. Kind of in a class all their own.) The Alabama group is more of the DEEP south. The Georgia group is more of the coastal south. Totally different.
I grew up in Georgia. I now live in Alabama. Yes, I have spent a large amount of time in each state listed. Beautiful part of the country, amazing vacation options, scrumptious food.
There are a few key things you need to know before you head down (and we love to entertain, so please, come down!)
1. Mind your manners. (The southern phrase.) Oh yes, we can turn very genteel and expect you to do the same. A southerner can turn their nose up at you very quick if you are not completely polite. We expect the kids to say, "Yes, Ma'am. No sir." You must use please and thank you, and if you are a guy - you must be a gentleman.
2. Expect to smile... a lot. Southerners are BIG on the smiles. If you do not smile in return, you are immediately coined as a "not so nice" person. And it's all about being nice down here.
3. You must say hello to everyone. You cannot walk down a street without smiling, and saying hi. I am so serious. In the smallest of towns, people will wave from their cars. You think I am kidding?
4. Here's the one that is hard for some to understand. Southern women LOVE to gossip. Everybody knows everything about everyone. When you come for a visit, everyone is gushing all over you... head to the bathroom, and someone is whispering to the group some tragedy you may be going through (or someone in your family is going through.) When you return to the group, they will throw pity your way and expect you to spill the beans. That's just the way it is.
5. People get married and have babies early. A good southern girl, goes to college, meets a nice boy from a nice family, should be engaged soon after graduation, gets married and buys a house, and starts having at least a few babies. Yep.
6. When invited to some one's home - BRING A GIFT. Flowers, a souvenir from your last trip, just something. Also - always bring food with you. Plus, you better follow up with a thank you card within the week.
7. We don't appreciate it when you tease us about our accents. What you don't realize, to us - you have an accent. You may try to reproduce the southern drawl.. but please know - your nasal screeching is just as distasteful to our ears.
8. Yes.. you are a Yankee if you reside north of the mason dixon line. And yes, you will be reminded of it.. often. No, we do not say northerner. It's Yankee. And it was not the Civil War - it was the War of Northern Aggression.
17. Do not bring up politics or religion with a southerner. We have very strong opinions - and it can turn ugly - fast.
18. Poverty is alive and well in the deep south. (Usually the southern most cities of the state will have more farm land.) Don't assume someone is a backwoods redneck because they wear overalls, have little teeth, and tattered shoes and an old beat up pick up. Some of these people are simple very, very poor. Yes, they are not educated, and you may not be able to understand them when they talk. But would you put down someone in a poor village in africa or peru? No. So - don't treat these people any different.
19. Some of the finest institutions (colleges and universities) are located in the south. We are very proud of this. Most people you will meet are college educated. Just because we may talk slow - doesn't mean we are stupid.
20. And finally - I am not a slow talking, thich accent, genteel girl. But I know the rules and you better believe, I turn that accent on or off when I need to.
I highly recommend you visit some of our fair cities. I know you are aware of the BIG ones - but here is a list of hidden jewels I highly recommend for your next visit:
1. Savannah, Georgia
2. Jekyll Island, Georgia
3. Helen, Georgia
4. Charleston, SC
5. The Outer Banks, North Carolina
6. Black Mountain, North Carolins
7. Chattanooga, TN
8. Nashville, TN
9. Memphis, TN
10. Atlanta, GA
11. Birmingham, AL
12. Mobile, AL
13. Biloxi, MS
14. New Orleans, LA